April is STD Awareness Month and it’s got us thinking about STD testing and treatment. Did you know that if you test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea, you may be able to get extra medicine for your partner(s)? Through a practice called patient-delivered partner therapy (PDPT for short) or expedited partner therapy (EPT for short), your health care provider can give you extra packages of medicine or an extra prescription that you can give to your partner(s) if they are unlikely to go see a health provider themselves. Helping your partner(s) get treated through a clinic visit or PDPT take home medication not only supports their health, it also helps protect you from reinfection.
This sounds great! What do I need to know?
- You should first encourage all of your partners to visit a clinic to get tested and treated themselves. PDPT is only an option for those partners who are extremely unlikely or unable to visit a clinic. Certain kinds of situations – such as when partners are pregnant or have gonorrhea in the throat – are harder to treat with PDPT, so it’s best if they come into the clinic. Talking with your provider will help to determine if PDPT is the best option for you and your partner(s).
- Some (not all!) clinics in California participate in a PDPT Program – which means that all patients who come into their clinics and test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea have the opportunity to take home medicine for their partner(s) after they receive their own medicine. At some clinics, this medication is free. Find a clinic near you to get tested!
- If your local clinic does not participate in a PDPT program, they still may be able to provide you with an extra prescription for medicine to treat your partner’s chlamydia or gonorrhea infection. You can also encourage them to check out this website and the California Department of Public Health’s guidelines. Tell them that getting your partner(s) cured is just as important as getting cured yourself since you can easily get chlamydia or gonorrhea again. Plus PDPT is super safe!
- Your safety is important! If you don’t feel safe telling your partner(s) about your positive test result, PDPT is not recommended.
- PDPT is legal in California for patients who are at least 12 years old. Check out this map to see if it is legal in your state.
- Most people who get chlamydia and gonorrhea don’t have any signs or symptoms, so getting tested is super important!
- If you test positive for either chlamydia or gonorrhea, you need to take ALL of the medicine that the nurse or health care provider gives you for it work. Do NOT share your medicine with your partner(s).
- Many people who get chlamydia or gonorrhea get it again, so it’s important to get tested 3 months AFTER you were first infected.
- Find a clinic near you to get tested!
- Condoms are an effective way to prevent getting an STD. Get free condoms here!